30 August 2014

The Ultimate Trailer for the Ultimate Movie


A young student, JACOB, reads an old book in the most romantic section of the library.

We may be separated by great oceans, mountains, universes of souls, but you are me, and I you, one and the same, now and forever.

Jacob turns to the title page. It’s an 1850s edition of Lilies and Lace by Emily Washington. Her wood block portrait stares back at him.

She’s haunted me all my life.



Jacob and his friend, BILL, wear lab coats and examine smoking beakers.

I just know it was meant to be. There must be some way can meet.

But she’s been dead for 150 years.


Her gravestone, neglected but readable. EMILY WASHINGTON, 1839-1859, OUR BELOVED.

You’d need some kind of time machine.


Jacob, his eyes gleaming.



Jacob in darkness, his arms outstretched, shouting as electricity flashes and sparks all around.



May I present to you Miss Emily Washington.



EMILY WASHINGTON, the spitting image of the portrait, turns to greet Jacob, now dressed in period clothing.

I’m a great enthusiast of your work.

She offers her hand. He takes it. Sparks fly.

She smiles. She has crooked and yellow teeth.

SFX: Record needle scratch.


Jacob and Bill walk through a path, Jacob head down and depressed.

I can’t believe I built that time machine for nothing.

You’re just not thinking big enough. Check it, bro. I’m gonna show you how to get laid 1850s style!



A GAGGLE OF 1850s KNOCKOUTS, dressed in their finest, chatter in the middle of the ballroom.

Jacob and Bill enter carting a keg and a tray of Jello shots.

Let’s get this party started!

SFX: “This Is How We Do It”


As Jacob and Bill hand out red plastic cups of beer, Jello shots. The ladies are briefly confused, then immediately enthusiastic.

All drink, dance, party party party.

Bill jams on a harpsichord.

Jacob shows off a bottle of penicillin.

He makes out with one of the ladies. Emily walks in, sees them, pouts.

Another lady announces:

Dessert is served!

A SLAVE pushes in a dessert cart.

Jacob and Bill see the slave.


On the slave.

SFX: Record needle scratch.

Dude, what year was slavery abolished?

I don’t know.



Jacob lectures the SUPREME COURT. Behind him, Bill and Emily sit at a table. The courtroom is packed.

This is the issue that has long perplexed our nation. Our central paradox. But we cannot live long with this conflict. For it will--

Just show them the textbook.

Jacob hands the Supreme Court a copy of History of America, 1400 to Present.

He puts it on their table, flips through the pages.

Uhh... Here we are. Civil War. Check that out. And what’s after.

The judges look at the book.

SFX: Gavel slamming down.

Slavery is hereby abolished!

The courtroom cheers.

Bill gives Jacob a thumbs up.

Jacob and Emily smile at each other. Sparks fly again.

Then she grins and shows her teeth. They’re still yellow and crooked.

SFX: Record needle scratch.

Oh, right.



It’s raining. Jacob runs through the storm.

SFX: “Solsbury Hill”

Dude, sometimes you just have to follow your heart.

Jacob races up to Emily’s window. It’s on the second story. He can see her through the window.


She looks out, sees him.

And sometimes your heart has to follow you.

He climbs up the ivy-covered wall. She opens her window. He reaches her and they kiss.

Behind her, the door opens. HENRY walks in.

But Emily! I am your fiancee!

SFX: Record needle scratch.


Jacob and Emily are running away from Henry, who is leading a PACK OF RUFFIANS toward them.

After them!

Jacob and Emily reach the bridge, look down into the water.

We’ll jump!

But Jacob... I’m pregnant!

SFX: Record needle scratch.


Jacob, Emily, and Bill stand around the cradle.

He’s so cute.

But he has... the devil’s eyes!

SFX: Record needle scratch.

The door opens. The wild-eyed DOC SMITH enters and grabs Jacob’s arm.

Your son is evil! To save him, we must go back... to the future!

SFX: Record needle scratch.


Hand in hand, Emily, Jacob, Bill, and Doc Smith fly through the time tunnel.

This holiday season. Paravision Studios will give you everything you could want in a movie. Everything.


The foursome stand in the rubble of a city.

We’ve gone too far! Your son has already taken over and destroyed the earth!

Are you saying I have to... kill my own child?

SFX: Record needle scratch.

Dude, bummer.

How can I deal with this?

She looks down in the rubble and sees a corpse holding a vial of cocaine.

SFX: Record needle scratch.

Oh, hello.

She opens the vial, snorts it.


Emily does a line of coke along the kitchen counter. Jacob bursts in.

You’re ruining this family!

(re: cocaine)
This is my family now!

Bill bursts in.

This post-apocalyptic radiation has given me superpowers!

He flies into the air.



Of random images from the previous scenes and whatever else
we can film and throw in there.

You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll thrill. Then you’ll laugh again. Then there will be some more crying and thrilling. All of the emotions! All of the senses! Will be given the ride of their lives! When you see... For the Love of Party and Steel and Love and Drugs and Science and Also Drama and There’s a Superman Guy in Here Too. Coming soon to a theater near you!



The marquee has that title on it. A MAN and WOMAN walk out of the theater.

What did you think?

It was alright.



29 August 2014

True Story #4

At bar trivia last night w/ my buddy devin. Our team name wuz 00devin like double oh devin like james bond bcoz I like james bond & devin wants his name in there so it wuz a comprise. The trivia guy wuz saying the team names & there wuz another team called the james blondes it wuz these four girls at a table but only 1 of them wuz blonde. Devin was like we shld go talk & hook up w/ them chicas. I said okay & walked over there but he didn’t & I stopped & looked at him like wut’s up and he just drank his shocktop but the girls already seen me so I kept walking over & then I was like hey uhhh like a dumass and then I said I like ur team name. the blonde she asks wut team are u? & I said 00devin & she said is ur name devin & I said no that’s my friend’s name my name is Justin & she said hi I’m Candace nice to meet u & her friends intro’d themselves too but I forgot their names. I said can I buy u a drink & I meant Candace but they were all like yes so I had to buy them a pitcher which wuz kind of bullshit but whatevs they seemed nice so I got them a shocktop. Candace said james bond wouldn’t drink this & I was all yes he would he doesn’t give a fuck he once electrified a Korean man to death.

The next round started & I forgot wut it wuz something like geography & Candace didn’t care either so me & her kept talking bout james bond & wut a boss he is & it wuz like all my dreams were coming true coz here wuz this chica that like liked james bond too & so then I was like let’s watch a james bond movie & she said right now? & I said well that might make it a little late I have to work at the Food Lion 2morrow it sux & she was like so wut this is james jimmy bond here & I said okay let’s do this.

We went 2 her place & it wasn’t that nice like her mom wasn’t there 2 clean up after her but I didn’t say anything like a gentleman & she put in a dvd of Die Another Day which has that sweet part where james bond is driving on the ice & then there’s a wave & he has a parachute I think? I forgot. Halley berry is hot as fuck tho so I sit down & start watching it & then Candace puts her hand on me & I’m all that’s cool but trying 2 watch the movie & she’s all this movie sux that’s why I put it on & I’m all wut? & she’s all this is just background 4 us 2 get 2 know each other bodylike & I wuz all that’s fine but this is a james bond movie we need to set our piorities like responsible people like james bond & she’s like wut & I’m like I thot u got it I thot u were different & she’s like whatevs & I’m like yeah whatevs is right so I left & went back 2 to the bar and devin was gone & so was the james blondes & we lost anyway. The bartender wuz like ur buddy left a tab & I wuz like let me get my wallet it’s in my car & then I just left like yeah right pal u think I’m gonna take care of that ur a LOSER.

26 June 2014

True Story #3


HACKY COMEDIAN is on stage - young, male, energetic.

Hey, what would happen if you had sex with a Transformer? Huh?
(mimes sex)
Hey, I think you’re a little low on oil? Am I right? Yeah.

Crowd laughs.

But what if it transformed while you were having sex with it? Ouch, am I right? Maybe it would go like this.

He thrusts out his crotch and starts screaming.

Crowd laughs.


The corner. The comedian’s ASSISTANT is recording his performance.

The comedian continues to whoop it up. The crowd continues to laugh.



The crowd’s laughter now comes from the television.

The comedian and the assistant watch his performance. Serious faces on both of them.

     I think it’s great. It’s definitely your best bit.

     It’s not real.

     What’s not real?

     Me. I’m not buying it.

     But they’re laughing.

     It’s not real!

A beat.



The comedian places his penis between the jaws of a bench vise.

The assistant grabs the handle, looks at the comedian.

The comedian nods.

The assistant hesitates.

     Do it!

The assistant twists the handle.

The comedian screams.



The comedian is back on stage.

What about having sex with a Transformer? What would that be like, huh?
(mimes sex)
     Hey, I think your oil’s a little low!

Crowd laughs.

But what if it transforms while you’re having sex with it? Ouch, am I right? Optimus, no--

He screams. It's real and bloodcurdling.

The crowd erupts with laughter.

The comedian paces, soaking it in.

(to himself)
     There it is. There it is.

He pauses, waits for the laughter to die down.

And then what happens if the Transformer has sex with you? Whoa! Not on the first date!

He jerks his hips forward, waits for the laugh.

Nothing. Dry coughs.

Sweat appears on the comedian's forehead.


The corner. The assistant is recording the performance.

(moving on)
Hey, don’t you just hate other drivers. It’s like, where’s my jet pack?

A single tear spills down the assistant’s face.



18 June 2014

A Retired Steel Welder Reacts to the Article "Young Writer Earns Six Figures With Erotic One Direction Fan Fiction"

He saw the headline on Facebook, where it had been posted by his daughter-in-law. "Six figures?" he said to himself. He clicked the link and scanned the article. It was about that boy band his grandniece was in love with. "Son of a bee sting," he said. "Is that what people are paying money for nowadays?" He leaned back in his chair. "Well. Alright then." He leaned forward and opened up Word and began to type.

She was young. Sixteen which is the legal age hereabouts. Pretty like hot sparks from a GMAW welding gun against steel. Just beginning to blossom as a woman. She was waiting for the One Direction outside of a concert that was at a stadium. She was with a bunch of other young girls and some boys too because the parents let all kinds of things go on these days. They all loved the One Direction but she loved them the most. And she was going to prove it.

The concert was over. The big gates opened. A limo drove out of the stadium. All the young girls and boys started yelling real loud in a way that was not at all necessary but you know how they get. Inside the limo was the One Direction.

The young girl pushed aside some other young girls and walked right out in front of the limo. Now you shouldnt walk out in front of any moving vehicle but this just goes to show how crazy she was. Lucky for her the limo stopped. Otherwise this would be a different story but one all too common. "Please let me in" she said. "My name is Candice and I love you the best." A window rolled down. A tiny hand like a childs came out and waved Candice over. She was getting invited into the limo! She ran to the limo and a door opened. She got inside and the limo drove away.

Inside the limo was the One Direction. All five members. They all had nice hair and were wearing nice clothes that were very expensive and they smelled nice because their parents could afford to buy them whatever they wanted. They smiled at Candice. "Hi" said the one who looks kinda like he's maybe Italian or French. "You say you like us the best. We want you to prove it." "Oh I can" Candice said. "I can prove it like nobodys business."

The Italian one got out his you know his thing and it was hard like a 4140 Alloy Round Bar. Then another one got out his thing, it was the one who looks like he's probably got a kid somewhere, and he said "Prove it to both of us." "Okay" Candice said. So she took one thing in each hand and played with them a bit rubbing and stuff. "Oh yeah" they said. "We like that just fine. That'll do her."

They went on like that for a while and then the other three couldnt mind their own beeswax any longer and they said "We want to do something too." Candice thought about it and she said "Start kissing each other" which is a thing these young girls like to see these days. So they started kissing each other like you do just pecking on the lips at first because they werent sure about it but they liked it as these boys tend to do when they make that choice and then it was too late they were making like the people in the movies with their tongues.

It was getting on pretty late and Candice had a curfew. She didnt want to disappoint her parents because she wasnt a bad girl at heart just a bit wayward so she could still be saved. She said "We best be getting along now so lets hurry this up and do the sex." The One Direction agreed. Whichever one was Harry said "Seeing as we're not married we should use protection because thats responsible well abstinence is really the most responsible and there's no reason for us to be doing sex before marriage but if we're going to anyway we'll need the protection." They opened a panel on the limo and inside was the protection. Goggles and leather gloves that would shield them from the heat of the love making. They distributed this protection to everybody in the limo and then Candice said "I'm ready."

Then they had the sex and I dont think I need to get too detailed about that I mean we all know about it even the kids these days even though they shouldnt thats the kind of sick world we live in. And afterward they dropped Candice off at home where her parents were waiting and really they should have been with her at the concert that was really not very responsible of them. "Bye bye" the One Direction said to her. "You really do love us the best." "Stop by and visit me anytime" she told them as they drove away. Nine months later she had a baby even though they used protection because it is not 100 percent so you know that now. She named the baby One Direction and then she went on welfare and we all ended up having to pay for the dang thing like we always do right?

He couldn't think of anything else to type and thought that might mean he was done. He took his wife's copy of The Purpose Driven Life off the shelf and looked at the publishing company. Zondervan. He opened Yahoo and typed in the company's name and brought up its website. He looked for an email address and found a request form. He typed in his email address and for the subject wrote "One Direction sex story for money please." He copy-and-pasted his story into the Description box and clicked "Submit." He sat back in his chair.  "Money in the bank," he said. 

17 June 2014

True Story #2

While on Hawaii's Big Island, I visited the southernmost point of the United States. Across from the parking lot was a cliff with a forty or fifty drop into beautiful blue water. People were jumping off the cliff from concrete platforms, climbing back up on a rickety metal ladder that ended just at the water's surface. There was also a hole in the ground nearby, through which local kids were dropping down into a pool directly beneath the cliff. The pool was undulating with the surf, so presumably there was a path from it to the cliff face and the ladder, but I sure wasn't going to find out.

Dropping off the cliff, on the other hand - plenty of fellow tourists were doing it, working up the courage and taking the plunge, swimming back up alive and hearty. I didn't want to do it, exactly, I just had to do it. I knew that. This was the kind of experience you go on vacation for, and besides, I was sweaty, dusty, and grimy from a five mile hike to a nearby green sand beach. I wanted to live in that stunning blue water.

I was with a friend who felt the same. We changed into our swimsuits in the car and returned to the cliff. An anxious teenager was working on his courage and failing. Encouragements from his parents and teases from his younger brother didn't help. When the teen snapped at the brother, the mother moved them along to the next jumping spot, which was apparently not as high.

A perky young woman then cut in front of my friend and I. She'd jumped off other platforms, but this one was more daunting for her. Her boyfriend was already in the water, so it didn't take much for her to find the strength to leap. SPLOOSH. A column of water shot up, she resurfaced and reunited with her man.

My friend's turn. After the typical hesitation, he leaped and survived. I watched him from above, asking him about the jump, waiting for him to swim back to the ladder so I wouldn't land on his head. When he reached the safe point, I stepped onto the platform, backed up until I couldn't see over the cliff. I took a breath. Everyone else has survived this, I thought. It's my turn. I walked forward and launched myself into the air.

That's when I looked down. A mistake. My body saw the distance it had to go and said: "You are going to die." My brain got the message and believed it. My spontaneous final words to the world: "Oh fuck!"

The best way to make such a jump is to keep your body in a line, legs together and arms tucked at your sides or crossed against your chest (that was the advice of the teasing younger brother). My body's death instinct, however, was to curl into the fetal position. As I dropped, my brain remembered too late that I wasn't going to die, and I should straighten out if I didn't want this to hurt. I hit the water in a neither/nor formation, my legs tucked up, knees downward, right arm and chest leaning toward the water, left away, head raised and held back, like it wouldn't feel the impact if my eyes couldn't see it. I landed with more SMACK than SPLOOSH, the salt water instantly filling my sinuses and ear canals.

I swam to the water to confirm that I was still alive, and began laughing at the absurdity of it all, my usual reaction in this kind of situation. I swam to the ladder, where my friend was just beginning his climb up. His bathing suit dripped water on me, and I realized I probably didn't want to be right beneath of him if he fell for some reason. I waited until he reached the top, then followed. The climb wasn't much fun itself, and when we were both safely back on land, neither of us were inclined to jump again.

The perky young woman was back on the platform, hand in hand with her boyfriend. "Let's shout 'love' when we jump," she suggested. They jumped. "Love!" she said into the air, then their hands came apart and they dropped into the water.

01 May 2014

Thomas Video

Thomas Video is closing its doors. It was a landmark video store in Metro Detroit, the one that wasn't a corporation, the one that offered films that couldn't be found anywhere else. When I lived in the area, I went to Thomas Video many times, but not every time. I should have.

In my memory, Thomas Video is the place that introduced me to the Criterion Collection. Some summer night in early college, my friends and I went there and browsed. Each film was "Oh, I've heard of this!," something we couldn't find anywhere else but a place like Thomas Video, many bearing the Criterion label. We ended up renting Man Bites Dog.

It was a moment.

That same summer, or another summer, we rented Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. My friends had heard of it, and we talked about it in the aisles of Thomas Video, rumors of what it depicted: This film is crazy. This film will mess you up. It was before Criterion reissued the film, its DVD long out of print and worth considerable cash money. To rent Thomas Video's copy, one needed to put down a $100 deposit or leave behind a credit card. We had to wait until one of us actually got a credit card, and when he did, one of the first things we did was rent Salò. "Boom!" he announced, slapping his credit card on the counter alongside the DVD box. That night, we watched the film, the dread growing each time a title screen announced a new circle.

It was a moment.

Years later, post-college: I hang out with my friends Lorin and Rachel. They have just met. One early evening, we go to Thomas Video to rent a film. We settle on something I suggest. We take it back to my parent's house and watch it. Not long after, Lorin and Rachel begin dating and eventually marry. I like to think it began that evening, as we watched the film I selected, a heart-swooning romance about a young man's coming of age: Come and See.

It was a moment.

After I moved away, my friends would update me about Thomas Video. It moved to a new location. The heat stopped working. They rented the unrated director's cut of the small art film GI Joe: Retaliation from there. I wanted to know these updates. Thomas Video contained some of our best moments. Somewhere, it always will.

22 April 2014

True Story #1

In the future, everything will be paid for with lists.

You will go to a diner and eat a hamburger. "How much was this hamburger?" you will ask the diner manager.

"Five 'Most Overrated/Underrated' lists," he will reply. "Any topic."

You will look at the device that has been embedded in your arm since you were born, and you will frown. "Mister, I'm just a wandering drifter. All I have is a '10 Must-See Sites in Tucson, Arizona.'"

The manager will pull out his lazer gun. "Stay there," he will say, aiming his kill machine at you. Then he will speak into his own arm device. "Get me the police."

"Welcome to the police department," the police will answer. "How may we assist you today?"

"I got someone trying to skip out on his tab."

"We can help you with this problem. It will cost you '36 Gifs That Will Only Make Sense to Children of the Noughties.'"

"Shooot. I don't have anything like that. How 'bout '18 Facts About Worms That Will Take Your Breath Away'?"

"That is acceptable as an initial payment."

The responding officer will be a malfunctioning robot shooting sparks out of its metal skin. The sparks will set the diner on fire. Everyone but the robot will die in the inferno. Ashamed, the robot will become a wandering drifter, its sparks lighting up roadsides at night.

It will not require hamburgers for sustenance.